London Olympics draws record viewership

MUMBAI: London Olympics started with an exceptional performance especially in the United Kingdom with 23.5 million viewers tuning in for the opening ceremony on BBC1 for an 82.3 per cent market share, making it the top of the year so far, according to Eurodata TV Worldwide trends.

Viewing figures were also high across the World for the spectacular opening ceremony. In France the event gathered great audiences on TF1 with 8.7 million viewers and a 56.9 per cent market share, that is to say a better score compared to Beijing 2008 (5 million viewers on France 2).

Over in Germany on ZDF, 7.6 million sports fans watched the event for a 43.5 per cent market share. Although this matched results for Beijing, it nonetheless represents a drop compared to Athens 2004, partly due to the length of the ceremony added to the time difference.

Among Spanish audiences on La 1, the event gathered 5.6 million viewers with 46.1 per cent market share, more than doubling the results of Athens 2004. This huge rise demonstrates that the Spanish are more and more enthusiastic for sports in general, thanks to the incredible success of local athletes and teams.

Italians also appreciated the Opening Ceremony with more than 5.5 million people tuning in on Rai 1 with a market share of 42.6 per cent, in line with previous Games.

In China, despite a big time difference, CCTV1, CCTV5 and CCTV News realised good figures (all three channels combined) with 22.2 million viewers and a 49 per cent market share. It is the proof that the previous Olympics created a keen interest.

The data used is from multiple sources to capture the viewership of the various countries. These are: Eurodata TV Worldwide; Médiamétrie (France); Nielsen (USA); Auditel (Italy); BARB (UK); AGF,GfK Fernsehforschung (Germany); CSM Media Research (China); Kantar Media (Spain).

The women’s football competition started with a big match between two favourites for the gold medal: France and the USA. This game, the remake of the 2011 FIFA World Cup semi-final, achieved great audience in France with 1 million viewers and a 8.8 per cent market share on France 4, compared to a 2.2 per cent channel average market share over the first semester of 2012.

In the UK, BBC1 gathered 1.8 million viewers and a 18.3 per cent market share for the game between Great Britain and New Zealand. These results demonstrate the increasing support for women’s football, as it commands increasingly impressive TV audiences.

Men’s basketball started with big expectations on Sunday. The new US Dream Team was up against France, one of the strongest challengers. On France 3, the game was followed by 3.9 million viewers and a market share of 33.3 per cent. The match was a huge success both for the spectacular game and the impressive TV audience figures taking into account the usual little regular exposure of basketball.

Road cycling, one of the most popular competitions, took place on 28 Saturday. Reason: Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France in July, his appearance at the Opening Ceremony once again, stoking British enthusiasm for the sport.

In the UK, BBC3 averaged 788,100 viewers with a 7.7 per cent market share for the race and peaked at 2 million viewers (18.5 per cent market share) just before the last hope for a British medal disappeared in this race.

Eurodata TV Worldwide vice-president Jacques Braun said, "The United Kingdom is known worldwide as a country of sports tradition, so this event could be seen as a symbolic return to their roots. Furthermore, the Euro 2012, the NBA Finals, the Tour de France and Wimbledon were great boosters for this amazing sports summer with the performances of Bradley Wiggins and Andy Murray. The performance of cycling in this Olympics demonstrates again the ingredients of TV ratings success: a whole country or city getting behind their hero with medals at stake."

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